Monday, June 8, 2015

Down by law

Continuing my coverage of Chris Hedges' analysis of radical (or reactionary) rebellion on the simmer, Elias Isquith's interview with him in Salon expands his critique from his Wages of Rebellion: the Moral Imperative of Revolt. "We Are in A Revolutionary Moment"--Hedges opens by observing: "It’s with us already, but with this caveat: it is what Gramsci calls interregnum, this period where the ideas that buttress the old ruling elite no longer hold sway, but we haven’t articulated something to take its place." He avers that either radicals or reactionaries could fill this new place.

As public trust in the police, the law, and politicians ebbs, the power government and corporations conspire to hold still seems intact, but despite the coup-d'etat taken by their alliance, their facade is weakening, in Hedges' estimation. "The normal mechanisms by which we carry out incremental and piecemeal reform through liberal institutions no longer function. They have been seized by corporate power — including the press. That sets the stage for inevitable blowback, because these corporations have no internal constraints, and now they have no external constraints. So they will exploit, because, as Marx understood, that’s their nature, until exhaustion or collapse."

As an Occupy participant, Hedges recognizes the scattered nature of opposition from the left. "We who care about populist movements [on the left] are very weak, because in the name of anti-communism these movements have been destroyed; we are almost trying to rebuild them from scratch. We don’t even have the language to describe the class warfare that is being unleashed upon us by this tiny, rapacious, oligarchic elite. But we on the left are very disorganized, unfocused, and without resources." Informants, within Muslim and leftist organizations, have weakened many critics.

"Diligent Bureaucrat" at Daily Kos (image borrowed from this April 22, 2015 piece; see hyperlink at end of this blog entry), warns: "Whether its [sic] an environmentalist, anti-war activist, animal rights advocate, or occupy protester, the bureau appears to have a strict policy that any individuals or movements who criticize the government, corporations, or the nexus between the two, must be monitored, infiltrated, and if possible sent to prison." Activism and terrorism to the FBI are conflated, as informants proliferate to create actions that can be criminalized if none exist beforehand.

I wonder what this will do to confront the $2.5 billion the Clintons have supposedly amassed, or the PACs both the Dems and the GOP manipulate to sway voters in our faltering nation to keep the corporate puppets in place. As I wrote last time, I fear Bernie Sanders' entry will merely serve to rally a few on the populist left to assauge Dems who want HRC to shift their way a bit, only to have the former Socialist capitulate in a few months to deliver his supporters to Clinton, as if they had anywhere else to go. As in '12, Dr. Jill Stein will front the Greens, but as then, they will go nowhere--despite my tree-hugging wishes that they'd gain traction, by promoting birth control, population reduction, lower immigration rates, as well as their predictable NPR-soothing eco-friendly nostrums.

Discussing Hedges' article on FB with like-minded folks, they bristled at the "self-immolation" he urged; one judging him a gift to our security state. Given Hedges' penchant for end-times scenarios, this may be correct. But as in his opposition to BlackBloc at OWS, he may have stepped back from the abyss. His writing can be uneven and repetitive, but I hear in him along with Matt Taibbi and George Packer critics who analyze the populist, progressive challenges to the mainstream that cheers on Hillary and the DRC as the default setting for banker-funded "hope and change," version 2.0.

Hedges reminds those around me who shrug and whisper "Supreme Court" as they cheer on Hillary: "If we are not brutal about diagnosing what we are up against, then all of our resistance is futile. If we think that voting for Hillary Clinton … is really going to make a difference, then I would argue we don’t understand corporate power and how it works. If you read the writings of anthropologists, there are studies about how civilizations break down; and we are certainly following that pattern. Unfortunately, there’s nothing within human nature to argue that we won’t go down the ways other civilizations have gone down. The difference is now, of course, that when we go down, the whole planet is going to go with us." Marx here was correct. His own followers tarnished his idealism as they trashed their side of the earth as badly as did the capitalists everywhere else. But now that there is nowhere else, how long do we have in this century of rising heat, freakish storms, population increases of mainly many more poor, ever higher pressure to accept immigrants, less national will to uphold any environmental rulings in the name of job creation, a war machine, ideological and religious tension, tax breaks, while we laud developers and investors as titans and philanthropists?

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